Europe must stop ‘whining about a Trump presidency’, says Netherlands’ PM

Referring to the forthcoming US election, Mr Rutte, who is said to be positioning himself to become the next Nato secretary-general, said the EU had to work with “whoever is on the dancefloor”.

“We have to do this because we want to do this, because it is in our interest. This is crucial. And all that whining and moaning about Trump, I hear that constantly over the last couple of days – let’s stop doing that,” he said during a discussion at a security conference in Munich .

There can also be “no doubt” that Vladimir Putin will “test Nato” if he wins in Ukraine, Mr Rutte told conference delegates. And he said he was “cautiously optimistic” that the US Congress would eventually pass a crucial bill to supply arms to Ukraine.

The prospect of Trump winning the US election has set alarm bells ringing in Europe, after he warned last week that he would encourage Vladimir Putin to attack Nato countries that did not meet the alliance’s spending commitments.

Top German officials said his remarks were a clear sign that Europe would not be able to rely on the US as a security guarantor in the event of a Trump victory.

Nuclear deterrent

There have been discussions in Paris and Berlin about the EU setting up its own nuclear deterrent to stand up to Putin and to compensate for a future lack of US engagement in key Nato affairs.

But Jens Stoltenberg, the Nato secretary-general, has dismissed the discussions as “not helpful”, as losing faith in the US nuclear umbrella “would only undermine Nato in a time when we really need credible deterrence”.

Earlier on Saturday, Volodymyr Zelensky, Ukraine’s president, told the conference that he would invite Mr Trump to visit the frontline if he became the next US president.

“If Mr Trump will come, I’m ready to go with him to the frontline,” he said.“I think if we’re in dialogue [about]  how to finish the war, we have to demonstrate to … decision makers what does it mean the real war, not [on] Instagram. Real war.”

Mr Zelensky also addressed the failure of the US Congress to pass a new spending package for Ukraine before breaking up for a two-week recess. “Please remember everyone that dictators do not go on vacation,” he said.

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